Category Archives: Interviews
This year I’ve had the fortune of discovering the writing of Kelli Owen. In my review of her debut novel “Six Days” I called it “a claustrophobic cocktail of unease and uncertainty” that I found to be “refreshing in a very Chianti and fava beans sort of way.” Recently, I had the chance to review her new novella, “The Neighborhood”, and found even more to like. In that review, I said:
The comfortable and effortless style Owen imbues in her prose, her ability to make the ordinary both familiar and frightening, and the sensibility she brings to her storytelling are all reminiscent of “It” and Stephen King at his best. The ability to instantly connect me to a new world in a single sentence that first made me a King fan then, is the same thing that’s made me a Kelli Owen fan today.
Having made such an impression on me, I really wanted to pick Kelli’s brain a bit and see what makes her tick. She was kind enough to take time out of her day to answer a few questions recently.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a book signing in Little Rock, AR with Brad Thor. Brad is wrapping up a promotional swing in support of his latest release “Full Black”. (If you haven’t had a chance to read “Full Black”, it’s one of Brad’s best books to date. You can read my review of it here.) It was the first Brad Thor book signing I’ve had a chance to attend and after my experience – it definitely won’t be the last.
The signing was held at Books-A-Million in Little Rock. That meant a 3 ½ hour drive for me. I was a bit tired when I finally arrived, but the staff at Books-A-Million were all very helpful. The setting for the event was casual and intimate. When Brad arrived, he greeted the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out to support him. He then spent the next half hour talking about a wide range of subjects; everything from the inspiration for “Full Black” (“I went out to people I knew in the intelligence and special operations community and I said – I write about what keeps me up at night. This time, though, I want to know – what keeps you up at night?), an update on the adaptation of his Scot Harvath books into films (“We signed a big deal with Warner Brothers in November.”), and his views on Islam (“I’ve never been anti-Islam. I’m definitely anti-Islamist. There is a difference. If you say your religion compels you to go kill people – your interpretation of your religion sucks.”)
After a few questions from the audience, Brad jumped in to signing books. He was genuinely excited to meet and talk to his fans. He took time to speak to everyone personally as they reached the table, he took pictures with anyone and everyone who asked, and he was happy to sign as many books as people had brought with them. In short, he showed true class and an appreciation for those that have read and loved his books over the years. (In another classy move, he invited any veterans and any parents with small children to come directly to the front of the line. That, more than anything, impressed me – and spoke to his character.)
As the evening was wrapping up, only I was left, along with quite a few active members of the Thorum – Brad’s online discussion forum. As I sat and listened to Brad talk with them, I was struck by the camaraderie they all shared. It was more an easy conversation among friends than a book signing between author and fans. I realized that I was seeing the true secret to the success of Brad Thor – a desire and willingness to truly connect with people. To have a conversation – not just give a lecture.
After the event was over, every book signed and every picture taken, Brad was kind enough to spend some time talking with me. It was great to sit down and chat with him in person. He has an infectious energy about him and an engaging personality. It was late, he was feeling a bit under the weather, but he was more than gracious with his time. I hope you, faithful reader, enjoy our conversation.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of “The Undertakers: Rise of The Corpses”, you can find it here. It’s a great new addition to the young adult genre – both because it’s an incredibly entertaining story, and because it’s about zombies. I had a chance to chat with the Ty Drago, the author of “The Undertakers” recently. We talked about everything from his inspiration for the novel, to the role his son played in helping him get the characters’ voices to ring true, to – of course – the (real) pending zombie apocalypse.
I’ve said before, one of the reasons I enjoy this blog so much is the opportunity it affords me to meet and interact with authors and artists. One of the people I’ve had the pleasure to chat with is Lavinia Ludlow, author of “alt.punk”. (If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of “alt.punk” – you can find it here.) It’s one of the more engaging interviews I’ve done – Lavinia really made herself emotional accessible in her answers. We talked about the process of editing the novel and getting it published, some of my criticisms of the book, what the future holds for her, and – of course – the impending zombie apocalypse. Enjoy!
If you are a fan of historical thrillers and haven’t read “30 Pieces of Silver” by Carolyn McCray – well, you need to fix that. It’s one of the more entertaining and original takes on the genre I’ve read in a long while (you can find my review of it here).
I was lucky enough to have the chance to chat with Carolyn recently. We covered everything from how she approaches writing, her experience in self-publishing, the shocking ending to the book, and – of course – the impending zombie apocalypse. Enjoy!
I recently had a chance to review the debut E.P. from Deer Park Avenue – “City Streets”. (If you haven’t had a chance to check out my review, you can find it here.) At the time, I said one of the things I love most about this blog is the opportunity it affords me to meet new authors and artists. Sarah and Stephanie Snyder from Deer Park Avenue are no exception to that rule.
After I published my review of “City Streets”, Sarah and Stephanie were kind enough to sit down and chat with me. We covered a wide range of topics; from musical influences, to pop European bands, to – of course – the impending zombie apocalypse.
Most people were introduced to MiG Ayesa six years ago on the show “Rockstar:INXS”. An accomplished performer with a strong, clear rock voice; MiG exuded both a calm confidence and an electric stage presence during the show. While he could command the stage with a manic, almost reckless abandon; MiG still managed melt hearts and turn in one of the best performances of the season with his restrained and nuanced piano rendition of “Baby I Love Your Way”. It was that performance that made me a MiG fan.
Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, MiG started his music career long before he appeared on “Rockstar:INXS”. He worked on both the stage and in TV in Australia, before moving to London in 2001 to pursue his dream of being a recording artist. While in London he appeared in “Rent” and played the lead in “We Will Rock You”. It was that show he left to take a shot at “Rockstar:INXS”
If you haven’t kept up with MiG since “Rockstar:INXS”, you’ve missed a lot. He was signed to Decca/Universal and released his debut album, the eponymous “MiG”, in 2007. After a stint in Los Angeles, he and his wife decided to move to New York. MiG toured with the international company of “We Will Rock You”, appeared in “Handel’s Messiah Rocks” and made his Broadway debut last year in “Burn The Floor”.
These days, MiG is busy with the national touring company of “Rock of Ages” playing the part of Arsenal front man Stacee Jax. I had a chance to talk with him last week. We had a great conversation, covering everything from the tour, his upcoming album, the inspiration for his characterization of Stacee, his plans for the future, zombies, and some of the things you just can’t do on Skype.
New York Times Best-Selling author Brad Thor is one of the most accomplished thriller writers of our day. His signature character, Scot Harvath, has been entertaining audiences since his debut in 2002. This year, Brad took the all female covert operations team he introduced in “Foreign Influence” and spun them off into their own book – “The Athena Project”. I called this team a “lethal combination of beauty, brains, and bullets” in my review (which you can read here).
Brad has spent time as a member of Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell Unit, is a fellow of the Alexandrian Defense Group, and is a frequent contributor to the Glenn Beck program. He can now add to his resume – an interviewee and friend of thewordzombie.com. Just before Christmas I had a chance to talk with Brad about a wide range of topics. We covered “The Athena Project”, how veterans could help secure our airports, the things that scare him most, why gun owners should be allowed to fly armed, the best non-fiction book he’s ever read, teleportation, why Eric Holder is a coward, and – of course – zombies. It was one of the more engaging and interesting conversations I’ve had in long while. I hope you enjoy it.
If you have not had the opportunity to read my review of “The Target” by Bill Bowen, you can find it here. “The Target” is a fresh perspective on the nuclear thriller, and asks questions about the nature of the war on terror and what role, if any, deterrence will play in that conflict. I had the chance to talk with him recently about the motivations of his characters, the things that scare him most in the world, and – of course – his plans for the coming zombie apocalypse.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of “Planning to Live”, you can find it here. It’s a book about real people, real problems, and contains a message that I think we all need to hear. I was fortunate to have a chance to chat with Heather Wardell, the author of “Planning to Live”. There is a little someting for everyone to be found in our talk – from serious to sublime to silly. We discussed her experience with self-publishing, the importance of “lovely little things” in your life, polar bears, squirrels, and – of course – zombie preparedness. Enjoy!